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I must confess, I love throwing things away. The physical and emotional act of letting go floods my body with a giddy sensation of freedom and weightlessness that is a true delight! On the contrary, the sight of endless emails in my inbox pumps anxiety through my veins, and an overload of physical objects, papers and tchotchkies just make me plain dizzy. As my dear mother would say, “Why do you need that? It’s just going to collect dust. Get rid of it!” I couldn’t agree more. At this stage of my life, I realize that the “things” I need the most are within me, right inside of my heART. That’s where I store my most valuable treasures.

So, the fact that I snipped out an article called “The Soul of a Teacher: Answering the Call” in 2006 from a magazine, and I still have that same tidbit hanging on my refrigerator to this day,six years later, says a lot! As an art teacher who is following her calling to share the power of art and authentic self-expression with the world, I read and re-read this article daily. I never tire of it, and it always reminds me of why I started The Art Studio NY, why I teach, and what all of our teachers at TASNY have in common.

When you are searching for an art teacher to guide you on your creative journey, it is this commitment, passion and heARTfelt calling, shared in the snippet article below, that your art instructor must have. Your teacher should long to touch your life in the most unique and caring way through the magical transformation of creativity. Teaching art goes way beyond the sharing of color mixing or paint application. At The Art Studio NY, all of our art instructors teach in our unique art studio because they want to see our students thrive, connect and create in the most joyous, authentic ways. At The Art Studio NY, we are dedicated to our students, and we not only want you to make beautiful canvases to hang on your walls, but we truly want you to succeed with the most important canvas of all, THE CANVAS OF YOUR LIFE.

I am grateful that amidst my love of simplicity and clutter-free living, I have not thrown this article away, for it reminds me every day of my mission as an artist, teacher and as a human being.


The Soul of a Teacher: Answering the Call

By Carolyn Dell’uomo

When we answer the call to teach, what is being asked of us? In looking at the lives of great teachers- Swami Kripalu, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr.- we see that the call to teach is a beckoning of the soul. It beckons us not to an occupation, but to a path of transformation; not to a career, but to a soul-evolving way of life. In saying yes to teaching, we are saying yes to the practice in which the joys, struggles, and breakthroughs of our lives are the soul-infusing force behind what we share with our students. Beyond technique and methodology, we teach who we are. Like teachers before us, we are called to a set of soul qualities that in times of doubt or fear sustain our trust, strengthen our heart, and nurture our relationship with the Divine. This intimacy with life, soul and spirit is the force behind our transformational teaching, courageous acts of compassion, and dynamic social change.

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30″ x 30″, Oil and Mixed-Media on Canvas, Copyright Rebecca Schweiger This image may not be duplicated, copied or used without permission of the artist.

“I dwell in possibility…” – Emily Dickinson

I’ve always been a huge advocate of working on many paintings at once, and I encourage everyone to do the same. When I work only on one lone painting, all of my focused energy pours into that “one and only” piece. The canvas becomes precious, too precious… WAY too annoyingly precious! Any change or unexpected shift on this “one” canvas sends my heart fluttering with anxiety and panic. Love turns into obsession, focus turns into frenzy. With the “one and only” canvas, I am controlling, demanding, and out of touch with life’s true possibilities.

On the flip side, when I create a variety of paintings at once on multiple canvas, there exists a flowing dance of inspiration that moves straight from my soul and right through my paintbrushes. The variety of life chapters within me, asking to be expressed, become like a family of hummingbirds freely pollinating plethoras of blossoms in the lush jungle. The possibilities truly become infinite.   If I’m not feeling a connection to one work of art, I have many others at my fingertips, begging for love, attention and frolicking. I am splattered with florescent colors from head to toe,  I am singing to the music that serenades my artistic ballet, and I feel a life force within me that I can only call magical.  As my creative process unfolds, I have a family of rich, authentic canvases, each expressing a tender piece of my heART that live to be shared. Each puzzle piece of my existence deserves its own canvas. And it won’t all fit into a “one and only” 24″ x 36″ stretched and framed piece of cotton.

We are complex, multi-faceted human beings with inner-worlds that are intricate puzzle pieces with infinite possibilities, we are as deep as the oceans and as vast as the heavens. As heARTists, as living beings on earth, the need to express our unique essence is a longing that we all share. Whether by creating a painting on canvas, entering a new relationship, or engaging in a new project at work, the theory of “the one and only” is a tried and true dead-end road. With too much focus on only one possibility, one outcome and one finished product, we set sky-high expectations that will almost always lead to disappointment… A place, I gather, that most, if not all of us, would rather not visit any time soon.

Set yourself up for success. Whether you are a doctor, lawyer, parent, teacher, investment banker or budding artist, keep many canvases active in your life. Seek new doors to open, and keep them wide open,  on a regular basis. Discover a variety of possibilities, interests and inspirations to nourish every chapter within your unfolding life masterpiece.

Take the multi-canvas approach and experience how many possibilities in life there truly are. Dwell in possibility.

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15-May-2015 05:04 PM
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Emily Klima

Okay-you’re awesome!!
15-May-2015 05:04 PM
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marteloman

Lots of wisdom here that you’ve eloquently shared with all of us. This goes to show how art and the creative endeavors to create it can benefit ones’s overall outlook on life among many other great dividends. Here’s to life in a multi-canvas, multi-dimensional way!
15-May-2015 05:04 PM
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Rebecca S

Thank you, Emily! You teach me so much constantly.
15-May-2015 05:04 PM
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Rebecca S

Thank you, Marteloman. I am grateful to share the truth of my heART!

I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve witnessed this exact sequence of ever-changing emotional terrain in my New York art studioAnd now that I got your attention by using the word fuck, insert the word “life” for the word “painting”. “I love my life, I hate my life, I fucked up my life. What should I do now with my life?!?! HELP.”

SOUND FAMILIAR?

Some of us are art students, and all of us are human life students. As my hEARTist students are well aware, I loooove to share how the creative, artistic process is THE perfect metaphor for the process of creating a beautiful, meaningful everyday life. While having a stellar painting to hang over your non-working Manhattan fireplace is a novelty and certainly impresses your doorman, creating and deeply enjoying a meaningful, self-empowering and joyous existence is paramount and something that every human being longs to create, have and live. In fact, there is nothing on earth more coveted than a gifted life such as this.

What if I guaranteed you that as you flex your creative muscles in the art studio with a gooey paintbrush in hand, you are actually flexing the muscles of your life that matter most?What if a simple (inspiring, wonderful and best art class in NYC, of course….) painting class in New York City is actually THE perfect practice for creating the life you most want to live?Through your artistic practice, you learn how to strengthen your ability to create beauty amongst life’s ever-changing colorful chaos, you build confidence in your right to express who and how you are in this world, you become the CREATOR of your life rather than a passive participant, and you learn to honor, respect and trust the voice that matters most, the voice of your inner-heART.

Through exploring your personal creativity and authentic self-expression, you don’t fret as your internal emotional landscape twists and turns, because you know that the nature of life is change, and you know that as an artist, you are in charge of your shifting canvas of life. You don’t worry as much about fucking up your painting (or life), because as an artist, you know that if you created meaning and happiness before, you can and will recreate it again. If you hate your painting (or life), you now have the creative wisdom to change it for the better. With the gift of your newfound creativity, when you ask yourself “What should I do now with my painting (or life)?”, your past panic is replaced with a reservoir of endless exciting possibilities. And, when youdowant to scream “HEEEELP!!!” from your 36th floor apartment window as all New Yorkers inevitably do (admit it, we’re in this together), you allow yourself to freely express whatever frustration you are feeling, because you know it is healthy to let it all out, and it just feels damn good to express yourself, rain or shine. This time, however, as you howl under the moon for help, howling right into the city night sky’s symphony of sirens and car horns, you smile to yourself as you spot the only sparkling star in sight. Your creative journey has taught you how to access every answer you have ever needed and every answer you will ever need. For the rest of the days of your precious life, because of the artist that you are, you know that everything you truly need is right inside of you in your heART. At this exact moment, you laugh with confidence, “What if the best kept secret is that painting class really is the greatest guru in town?”

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What is a heARTist?

A heARTist is an artist that lives and expresses him/herself from the heART, because that is where life’s greatest wisdom is born.  Right inside. Everyone is an artist, and EVERYONE can be a heARTist. I promise!  Speaking of promises, I have a handful of solemnly swears just for you.

My promises to you, dear heARTist:

I promise that  life really is your canvas, and you are its true artist. Artists create, that is our gift as humans. We create. You can CREATE joy, beauty and magic every day. That’s what heARTists do.

I promise to rev your creative juices up and bring the artist and heARTist out of you. Get ready to express yourself BIG time.

I promise to be sincere, sassy, serious, silly, sexy, succulent, sensual, strong, and share all possible scintillating aspects of my humanity with you. The intention, of course, is to remind you of how special and singular YOU are.

I promise that I am committed to supporting you in enjoying your life to the fullest while expressing your true authentic self. Share your shine, baby. There’s only one of you, and you are here to sing the song of your heART. Louder, I can’t hear you!

With love from one heARTist to another,

The New York Art Whisperer, Rebecca Schweiger


~ Rebecca Schweiger, copyright 2012

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15-May-2015 05:04 PM
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Anonymous

Rebecca- I am inspired by everything that you shared. I’m so excited to hear creative life tips. Thank you! Jen M.
15-May-2015 05:04 PM
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